Spaghetti and Meatballs All'Amatriciana

Geoffry Le Cher


Want a killer spaghetti recipe?

Love the tomato goodness of this classic pasta dish but getting just a bit tired of the ‘same old thing’? Want to improve on perfection? Yearn to experience a level of smokey goodness previously unknown?

Well here is an option that I tried and found to be well worthy of mention, Spaghetti and Meatballs All'Amatriciana, a spiced up version of the classic Italian sauce.

All'amatriciana hails from Amatrice, a town northeast of Rome. Classic all'amatriciana sauce is made from tomatoes, guanciale (salt-cured pig's jowl), and hot peppers. Here, Hungarian bacon stands in for the guanciale. If you don’t have garlicky, uber-smokey Hungarian bacon, you can us Applewood smoked, but know in advance… it just won’t be the same!

On the down-side, sure, it is a bit labor intensive and yup, it will take a good portion of the day… but trust me. This ‘ain’t no jar spaghetti sauce’!


★★★★★ 2 votes

2 Hr
2 Hr
Stove Top



  • 6 slice
    smoked bacon - [hungarian], diced
  • 2 clove
    garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 lb
    ground beef (15% fat)
  • 2/3 c
    chopped drained roasted red peppers from jar
  • 2/3 c
    panko (japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2
    large egg
  • 1/2 c
    coarsely grated onion
  • 1/2 c
    freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tbsp
    minced fresh marjoram
  • 2 tsp
    dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp
    kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp
    freshly ground black pepper

  • 2
    28-ounce cans diced tomatoes in juice (preferably san marzano)
  • 2 clove
    garlic cloves, peeled
  • 6 oz
    smoked bacon (about 6 slices), cut crosswise into thin strips
  • 1 Tbsp
    olive oil
  • 3 c
    finely chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 c
    dry white wine
  • 1 Tbsp
    minced fresh marjoram

  • 1 1/2 lb
  • 2-3 Tbsp
    extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp
    minced fresh marjoram
  • xxx
    freshly grated parmesan cheese

How to Make Spaghetti and Meatballs All'Amatriciana


  1. For meatballs:

    Place bacon in processor. Using on/off turns, grind to coarse paste. Transfer to large bowl. Using garlic press, squeeze in garlic. Gently mix in beef and all remaining ingredients. Let stand 15 minutes.
    Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Using moistened hands and scant 2 tablespoonfuls for each, roll meat mixture into 11/2-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on sheet.
    DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap; chill.
  2. For sauce:

    Puree tomatoes with juice and garlic in batches in blender until smooth.

    Cook bacon in large pot over medium heat until crisp; transfer bacon to plate.

    Add 1 tablespoon oil to drippings in pot and heat over medium heat. Add half of meatballs. Cook until brown on all sides, turning carefully with small metal spatula, about 9 minutes. Transfer meatballs to baking sheet. Add more oil to pot if needed and repeat with remaining meatballs.

    Increase heat to medium-high. Add onions and crushed red pepper to pot.

    Sauté until golden, about 6 minutes. Add wine; boil until reduced by half, stirring up browned bits, about 8 minutes. Add tomato puree and marjoram. Boil until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Mix bacon into sauce. Add meatballs; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until meatballs are heated through and tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Season sauce with salt and pepper.
  3. For pasta:

    Meanwhile, cook spaghetti in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; transfer to large bowl. Toss with 2 tablespoons oil and marjoram, adding more oil to moisten, if desired. Divide spaghetti among bowls. Top with meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and serve, passing additional cheese separately

Printable Recipe Card

About Spaghetti and Meatballs All'Amatriciana

Course/Dish: Beef Pasta
Main Ingredient: Pasta
Regional Style: Italian
Other Tag: For Kids

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